07 Apr Why A Campervan Should be Top of Your Staycation List
Written by former AA Ireland Online Director, Eamonn Grant. Read about how he and his family enjoyed their first campervan holiday below.
Why a campervan should be top of your staycation list this summer.
Over the St Patrick’s weekend I had the pleasure of taking to the road in a campervan with no particular destination in mind. Being a mid 30’s bloke my intentions were to take on the Wild Atlantic Way top to bottom in about 5 days but it soon became apparent that our 4 year old was going to scupper those plans pretty early on.
Ask my wife and she will tell you I like driving, most of our holidays have involved long drives but what has always been my intention is to create journeys of discovery. I definitely suffer from FOMO – Fear of Missing Out, which has always led me to wonder what is around the next corner. However on this particular holiday, there was only going to be one corner on this trip and when we got around it I soon discovered that there was so much to do if I just stood still.
So off we went on a Wednesday evening, in an amazing Campervan. The van had it all, including enough accommodation to sleep 6 people, a shower, toilet and kitchen. There was also a great welcome pack which included essentials like bread, milk, fruit, cheese and tea bags. We were given a detailed run through of how the van worked and the do’s and dont’s. Driving the campervan didn’t prove as difficult as i first thought which was great. And I didn’t even need a special licence to drive it, a standard Irish driving licence covered it.
The craic started from the minute we got the van. Even the packing of the van was fun! That definitely doesn’t happen on a normal holiday. Our 4 year old thought this was THE best thing ever, the thought that her home for the next few days could move was just “so cool” (her words!)
So off we went heading for our first stop in Kilkenny. That stop was Nore Valley Park outside Bennett’s Bridge in Co. Kilkenny.
We arrived just in time to feed some newborn lambs with a bottle before they went to bed for the night. There were baby chicks, owls and rabbits that also needed a night feed to the delight of Isabelle. All of this in the first 10 minutes of being on site!
We were then asked if we wanted freshly baked scones or homemade bread the following morning! When it comes to expectations ours were completely blown out of the water. We were on sensory overload, whilst also being offered homemade produce for our breakfast.
As facilities go, all the facilities were clean and well presented from the campers kitchen through to the campsite shop and campsite toilets. Whilst this might not be a 5 Star hotel, there are lots of reasons why camping and caravanning deliver on an experience that an AA 5 Star Hotel simply cannot. That experience is the simplicity and proximity of what we had access to on the working Nore Valley Park farm.
For the next 3 days we fed farm animals including ostriches, deers, pigs, geese, birds, chickens, donkeys and lots more, this was all done before breakfast. We collected eggs in the morning and cooked omelettes for lunch in our van. The life lessons here for a 4 year old were brilliant. We fed newborn lambs with bottles and put them to bed at night.
In a week where #BigWeekontheFarm is being shown on RTE this is all the more compelling than ever. The simplest and most natural of experiences are often the best.
There was also lots of other fun things to enjoy; crazy golf a great playground and the staff also ran an Easter egg hunt!
At night yes there wasn’t lots to do but we made our own fun in the van, by playing cards (which were also supplied by CamperIreland.ie) whilst enjoying hot chocolate which we made on the gas cooker.
So if you are considering a staycation this year, think about what you could see in a Campervan. No matter what your taste is, your holiday is completely up to you. We even mixed the rough and ready with a 5 star experience having lunch in Mount Juliet.
There are so many places to go and see from AA Listed campsites to some of the nicest beaches in the world. So having the campervan gives you that freedom to explore Ireland at your own pace.
Ok so to answer some of the questions we got:
- Was it cold?
Well it was still March so yes it was cold but the van had a gas and an electric heater so even though it hit minus 2 degress one of the nights, with a pregnant wife and a 4 year old
we were still all warm. Absolutely a non issue when summer comes around.
- What did you do in the evenings?
We had dinner in Langtons on one of the nights then back to feed the animals. Either-way, we were in bed before 10pm watching Netflix on an iPad once she was asleep. Bring a headphones splitter cable!
- Highlights ?
The whole thing end to end, the Campervan experience, the animals and people we met, the craic, the expressions and enjoyment on our daughters face.
No matter how many stars a hotel has, it can never create the experiences, learning and memories that we created in a few short days in a Campervan. I would highly recommend it to any family and it certainly won’t be my last campervan holiday.